Virginia has been leading the nation since the first settlers landed in Jamestown, and it continues by leading the challenge to ObamaCare. Along the way, a Virginia judge made a landmark decision that has been felt all the way to the U.S. Congress and the White House.
In March the Commonwealth of Virginia filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate requirement in the newly-passed health care bill that required Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine for failure to do so.
On Monday U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond ruled in Commonwealth of Virginia vs. Sebelius that the requirement to purchase mandatory health insurance was unconstitutional because the Commerce Clause of the Congress does not have that authority. He therefore became the first judge to rule against President Barack Obama's health care bill.
There was immediate reaction from Virginia's leadership including Governor Bob McDonnell (R), Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R), and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) who carried the lawsuit as well as Congressional Majority Leader-Elect Eric Cantor (R-VA 7), and former Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen. All supported the decision and all, with the exception of businessman Bill Bolling, are lawyers.
The Washington Examiner Opinion Zone bloggers followed up with opinions about the decision including Ben Domenech's cleverly-titled "Yes Virginia, there is a Constitution." E.D. Kain also weighed in with
Meanwhile, just exactly who is Judge Henry Hudson, the man who dared to take on ObamaCare and the President of the United States?
Some have called him staunchly conservative but others say he has mellowed with age. Perhaps he sees something of himself in Ken Cuccinelli who has been described by some as zealous and unyielding in his march for what he believes is right. Hudson's critics are unyielding in their assessment of someone who does not line up with their ideological beliefs, a hypocrisy not lost on conservatives.
This 63-year-old federal judge for the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Arlington, Va, becoming a volunteer firefighter and paramedic at the age of 18 and later serving as a courtroom deputy before earning his law degree from American University to become the "people lawyer," as he described in his 2008 book, Quest for Justice.
Hudson was recommended for his current federal position by Virginia U.S. Senators John Warner and George Allen in 2002 to President George W. Bush who nominated Hudson and saw his nominee confirmed by Congress in August 2002.
With a reputation as a no-nonsense judge, his career has had some high-profile highlights along the way. His legal career began when he worked as Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney and then Commonwealth's Attorney in Arlington County, Va, from 1974-86 and then as circuit court judge where he was known to be tough. Former U.S. Congressman Tom Davis described Hudson as a "by-the-book guy," adding that "[h]e is not one who coddles criminals." He went on to say, "He is a bulldog. He is not a warm puppy. Whatever Henry does, he will be criticized. But I know that what he does will be the right result. He will have the right answer."
In 1986 under President Ronald Reagan, Hudson was a member of U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese's Commission on Pornography. Later he headed up the U.S. Marshal Service in 1992-93 during the President George H.W. Bush administration, and in 1998 became a circuit court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he served until his current appointment in 2002.
Before the current health care decision, there was another notable case that brought Henry Hudson into the national spotlight. In 2007, the Michael Vick dogfighting case hit the headlines when the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was accused of illegal activity with a dogfighting ring in Virginia.
Giving an insider's look at his career through his book, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and herself a lawyer noted that "crime news junkies will love Quest for Justice, ... a thrilling tale of crime fighting adventure."
Perhaps no one says it better than Virginia resident Ollie North who commented, "Henry Hudson weaves a suspenseful tale that reads like a novel, but it's all true."